Monday, May 3, 2010

Off to Grad School!

Today was a very sad day for my foster mommy. Trainer Heather told mommy that today was the day I had to start Grad School for my final training...and mommy had a very hard time taking me to the kennel. She cried a lot. Princess Linni (my foster sister) did not cry. I think she is very glad not to have to share any attention with me any more.

Ms. Tiffany was at the kennel when I arrived and told my mommy that the plan was for me to go to a "forever" family in St. Louis. They have a special little boy (around 10 or 11 I think) that needs me as his new pal. Wow! I've never been to St. Louis, so this is going to be a real adventure for me.

I have my own space at the kennel and a new bed that foster mommy bought for me. There are other pups here training, so I have a host of new friends to play with. There is a great big yard for me and my friends to play in...and it has MUD! This should be great fun!

I will be here for 30 days with Trainer Heather, then I will go spend some time with my next trainer, Sarah. After that, I should be ready to go! If I do really good, I will get to meet my forever family around late August. I can hardly wait!

I am posting my "big boy" portrait that foster mommy had made so that you can see how a real "official" service dog looks. Pretty impressive, huh!

Well, off to Grad School. I have a lot that I still need to learn before I go to work as a service dog. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Me...the Wilderwood Representative!

This is me....hogging the air conditioner after a very exhausting walk! Foster Mommy and I represented Wilderwood Service Dogs at the annual "Walk for Arthritis" today. It was posted to be a 5K walk but when we finally got back to the starting point we found out that it was a 5 MILE (actually 5.4 miles!) walk and we were very, very tired and hot. They said there would be water along the way, so we started out without a water bottle for mommy and a water dish for me. At the first water stop we found out that the water was being served in dixie cups (very small dixie cups) and my big snout did not fit into that tiny little cup. Mommy tried pouring it into her hands, but that didn't give me much water! I am a pretty thirsty dog when I walk!

At the fork in the trail we had to choose between going on the "one mile walk" or the "three mile walk" and we decided that we could certainly handle three miles. We are used to walking together. We walked and walked thinking that the trail would lead us back to the starting point...but we finally reached the "half way/turn around point" point instead. Mommy was a little concerned about the length of this walk at that point because it seemed we had already walked a good distance...and we were obviously more than two miles away at this point.

With a big storm coming from the west, we decided we better get back to the church where the "walk" started. We came upon a very sweet lady named Annie who has arthritis. She was having a very hard time finishing the walk, so we walked with her until a nice policeman came along and gave her a ride back to the church in his "go-cart". There were several hills on this path, so I am glad that he was able to help her out. Another nice friend gave mommy a larger cup for me to drink from, so I was able to get a good bit of water down into my tummy to help me finish the walk.

We finally made it back to the church and everyone with pedometers said we had walked over 5 miles...not 5K's. That explained my very tired paws. I was glad to get back in the car for the ride home. I was really glad that mommy turned the air conditioner on "high" and pointed all the vents right at me! I kept my nose very close to them all the way home!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I'm A Big Boy Now!

Wow! A lot can happen in 5 months! Here is my before and after picture with very good buddy! I was such a wee little pup when I first came

to be a part of my foster family. Now I am such a big dog! I would also be a lot hairier, too, but foster mom keeps my hair about 1 1/2" long so that she can keep me groomed easier...and see my eyes so that she can tell when I am paying attention. It has been alot of fun growing with Gavin over the past few months and I am really going to miss him calling me the "crazy dog".

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The final countdown...

Today I have only two weeks left at my foster home before I go to "school" to become a real service animal. Foster Mommy is very sad, but happy that she has had this time to love on me! Foster Mommy's boss said that she is going to have to give mommy's entire office a "mental health day off" the day that I leave for the kennels and won't be able to go with mommy to the office. She knows that everyone there will not be able to work that day because they will miss me so much. I have been going to the office every day with mommy for a long, long time. Everyone there is my friend! When I get out of the car I go straight for the door, then head down the hallway to my mommy's office to see Juanita (who shares an office with her). If no one is looking, though, I make a quick turn and head to Karen's office because she always gives me a great back rub. To be quite honest, I pretty much "rule the roost"...(or would that be the "doghouse").

I have grown so much since coming to my foster house in December. I have also learned a lot of manners and commands. I sit, shake, lay down, wait and come on command. I touch my nose to anything my mommy says "touch" and I "snuggle" when she lies down on the floor. (I finally learned that I wasn't supposed to TACKLE or SUFFOCATE with this command). I fetch my toys when they are thrown for me, walk on a loose leash without pulling (well, most of the time) and force myself to "leave it" when I want to pick up something and taste it. I ring my bell when I want to go outside, and knock on the door to come back in. I now sleep beside my mommy and check on her a couple of times a night to make sure she is still in her bed. I now "kiss" instead of "nip" when I meet someone, and I don't jump on people when they come in the door. I stay off the beds and the couch, and I never, never pee or poop in the house! Best of all, I am a great traveler and love to go in the car!

I know that all sounds good (Hey! I AM good!) but there are still a few things I like to do that mommy is still trying to teach me not to do. My good buddy-dog Bentley taught me how to dig in my water bowl with both feet and make the water go EVERYWHERE when I spent a week with him while Mommy was in Guatemala. Although Mommy thinks it is cute and funny, she isn't sure that my new family will appreciate it. It sure is fun, though! I also just started digging holes in the yard. Foster daddy isn't too fond of that. Mommy put big rocks in my newest hole and uses that tacky word "NO" everytime I get near it. I thought dogs were supposed to dig!!! If you can't do it in water or dirt, where am I supposed to dig at? (Her bed???? Ha Ha...that would be funny!)

Life has been good here at my foster house. We have agreed to make the next two weeks the best yet! I can't wait to see what all I get to do!

P.S. For starters, I found out that Bruster's Ice Cream Shop gives doggies a dish of vanilla ice cream with a milkbone stuck on top! I am so lucky that Bruster's is right down the street from mommy's office! Woo Hoo!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

To Bishop ....From Gavin

Dear Bishop,

Today my Nana told me that you would be leaving soon to go to a special school so that you can learn how to help the little boy or girl that you will soon be living with. Ever since you came to my Nana's house she has told me that we were only babysitting you until you were ready to go to school to learn how to be a real service dog. After you go to school you will be ready to help a boy or girl who is sick with something special and who needs a good doggie to be with them everyday. I asked her if I would get a doggie like you the next time I got sick, but she said that I would probably not need a special dog because hopefully I wouldn't be sick very long once I went to the doctor and got some medicine. Then I asked her if you could come back to us when the little boy or girl got well. She explained to me that you were going to be with a little girl or boy that had a sickness that would probably last a very long time. I guess you need to be their doggie for a long time then. It makes me sad that you have to go now, and I told Nana that I really wanted to keep my "crazy dog" at her house. I call you "crazy dog" because when you see me you get so excited that you go crazy! Molly and I think you are so funny!

I have so much fun playing with you, especially when I run on one side of the fence and you jump and bark at me on the other side and run up and down the fence. I also like playing ball and "keep away" with you. I really don't mind that you chewed the end of my bat...or ate my foam rubber football...or snuck away with one of my trains. You're still a really good "crazy dog" to me. When you came to live with my Nana you were so much smaller! Now you weigh more than twice as much as I do. And you eat a whole lot more than me, too. Maybe you have grown so much because Nana lets me feed you treats every day when you do your tricks. I sure love shaking your paw!

I'm glad we have a little more time together before you leave. I still need to teach you how let go of my baseball when you retrieve it after I hit it with my bat. You are very good at chasing after my ball and bringing it back to me, but you have very, very strong teeth! I sure have trouble getting that ball out of your mouth! We'll keep working on that!

I love you, Bishop the Crazy Dog!


My very first County Fair!

What a wonderful time I had today in Morristown at a County Fair designed especially for those with special needs! My foster mommy took me on this road trip...and I was so happy that she took the carseats out of the back seat so that I could stretch out all the way there.

When we got to the County Fair we found that my past "foster-foster" parents were there, too. Gary and Juanita have taken care of me when mommy was out of town, so I recogized them immediately and took off to see the sights with my buddy Gary.

And there were definitely sights to see. I had my first 'nose-to-nose" sniffing of a pig, got a good look at sheep, goats, a donkey and a pony, and got pecked by the beak of a baby duck. (Never put your nose up to a baby duck!).

I wasn't too interested in the snake, but I had a blast trying to catch bubbles in the air. Mommy put a stop to that pretty quick, though, because she didn't want me to get a tummy ache from getting soap in my mouth. The cotton candy looked really pretty, but Mommy vetoed that, too. (Not to say I didn't try to sneak up on her for a little taste).

Everything was quite fun...and when the cloggers started clogging I climbed under the bleachers for a much needed nap. The best part, though, was all of the attention that I received from everyone there. They were taking my picture and hugging me and shaking my hand... I felt like quite an important, dog, I mean. (sorry....Mommy keeps reminding me I am not a person!) I loved all of my new special needs friends! (I did figure out, though, that you need to stay out of the way of electric wheelchairs! They have some pretty wild drivers!)

After the county fair I was very tired so I climbed back in the back seat, stretched out across the entire seat, and settled in for a nice ride home. Mommy told me that I was snoring, too, and it made it hard for her to listen to the radio because it was so loud. Actually, I was just making sure I kept her awake and alert while we traveled home. I'm such a good "service" dog!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Scouting around....

Today I went shopping in Wal-mart with my foster mommy. Actually, Wal-mart was just one of the many places she took me. Let me just say that the shiny floor in the new JCPenney's store is very SLICK...and the aisles in Babies R Us are very crowded...and there are a lot of gripy people that stand in line at the Post Office.

But in Wal-mart we were shopping in the doggie section looking for treats and a little boy was so excited to see me in the store! He immediately asked his mommy if he could come pet me. I didn't mind, but his mommy told him he couldn't pet me because I was "working" (She was is a lot of work for me!). When he asked her how I was "working" she said that I was "a special dog that was learning how to help people". He looked me over, standing there in my jacket with my Wilderwood patch on it, then asked his mom, "Is he a doggie Boy Scout?

Am I?